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Lord Turner joins OakNorth bank

Lord Turner joins OakNorth bank

Former FSA chairman Lord Turner has been named as a non-executive director of new challenger bank OakNorth which was given regulatory approval earlier this month.

The bank will lend to high-growth small and medium-sized companies and hopes to be up and running this summer.

Lord Turner, who was chairman of the FSA until its abolition in 2013, will be joined on the bank’s board by Robert Burgess, the former chief executive of Alliance Trust Savings.

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Ratan Engineer, who was previously head of global asset management at Ernst & Young and chief finance officer at Invesco, will become the bank’s chairman.

Lord Turner said: “Fast-growing small and medium-sized businesses play a pivotal role in the economy, but they find it more difficult to access finance in Britain than they would in countries such as the US or Germany.

“OakNorth understands that it doesn’t have to be this way, and we see an opportunity to focus on this market of growth SMEs, be more flexible in the range of collateral we accept from them and invest in IT that improves customer service.”

OakNorth’s founders Rishi Khosla and Joel Perlman are chief executive and chief strategy officer respectively.

They previously founded Copal Amba, an investment research and analytics company, which was acquired by Moody’s last year.

Mr Khosla said: “These appointments give us an exceptionally strong and well-balanced leadership team that will foster the growth and resilience of the business.

“OakNorth will be a positive force in SME banking, blending new technology to deliver a better customer experience with a capability to accept a wider range of collateral for loans.”

Adviser view

Stefan Fura, director of Leicester-based Furnley House, said: “A lender for small businesses is a good idea but we have had this before with other challenger banks.

“There are newer avenues to explore if you’re looking for credit such as peer-to-peer lending but whether that leads to more lending I don’t know.”